July 12th, 2010
08:04 PM ET

Church awaits word on members injured in Uganda bombings

Tim and Debbie Bingaman, whose foster son was injured in the Uganda blasts, reading the bible in Christ Community United Methodist Church.

CNN correspondent Mary Snow filed this report today from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania:

Members of the Christ Community United Methodist Church in rural Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania walked in and out of their church throughout the day, desperate for information about five fellow congregants injured in Sunday’s terror bombings in Uganda.

As some prayed, others checked their Facebook pages and emails for any updates. The pastor, the Rev. Kathleen Kind fielded a steady flow of phone calls from members and reporters. And the church updated its own mission website with the latest news.

The attack is testing the faith of a small town church that never thought terrorism would hit home.

As Susan Heintzelman checked her Facebook page, she also sought answers. “I keep saying, God, why?" she said. "But He’s still in control. God didn’t do this, man did this.”

“He’ll use it in some way for good,” she said. “But right now, it doesn’t make sense.”

Heintzelman had been part of the group that went to Uganda to construct a fence around a church and school for their sister congregation in Uganda. She and 8 others returned home last week. But because the project wasn’t finished, some members stayed an extra week and had been scheduled to leave Monday, the day after the bombings.

One member who stayed behind and suffered serious injuries was 18-year-old Kris Sledge, who’s studying to be a preacher. Not only did Kris find out about the missionary work through his church, he also found Debbie and Tim Bingaman when he was 14; They took him in as a foster child.

The couple spent a good part of the day at the church.

Asked why they waited for news at church rather than at home, they said it’s the church is “Kris’ other home.”

Debbie Bingaman says she had reservations about Kris going to Uganda, even though he was there once before at the age of 15. Choking back tears, she recalled praying with Kris before he left. She said she asked God to keep him safe “put people in his path that he can minister to and be a blessing to.”

“If this is where it takes him, even to a hospital, okay, okay, I’ll accept that,” she said. “Not happily. But I’ll accept it because God is there with him and helping him be that blessing right now.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Methodist • Missionaries • Uganda

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